Papuan students on learning, living and language

The 2017 Australian-Papuan Cultural Exchange Program (APCEP) cohort are on a mission to make their world a better place.

A group of students from from Papua and West Papua, where English is a valuable skill, have recently spent 12 weeks in Perth learning about Australian culture whilst studying English language.

“Learning English and being able to converse in English will open many doors for the students. They get to bring back their knowledge and share it with their community,” said APCEP program co-ordinator and host family volunteer, Lee-Anne Burnett.

APCEP began in 2010 and is managed by volunteers from the Black Pearl Network (BPN), a sub-group of the Creative Living Centre, part of Trinity North and Floreat Uniting Churches. The  program is in partnership with the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua. Continue Reading

Celebrating 40 years

Uniting Church groups around the country have celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia. Enjoy this gallery of pics from celebrations at Floreat, Trinity North and Rockingham and Rowethorpe Uniting Churches, as well as Good Samaritan Industries (GSI).Continue Reading

From the Archives: Noonkanbah 1980

This year the Uniting Church in Australia celebrates its 40th anniversary. Throughout 2017, Revive will feature significant events in the life of the church during that time.

The Uniting Church is often talked about for its commitment to social justice. Over its 40 years, the Uniting Church WA has spoken and acted on a range of issues. In recent years, members of the Uniting Church have marched for refugee rights, action on climate change, marriage equality, pride and more. Church members have also spoken out on Indigenous rights and even the right to protest itself.

One of the earlier involvements of the Uniting Church WA in political actions was to protect land from mining at Noonkanbah Station, in the Kimberley, WA. In 1976, the land was pegged for oil exploration, causing tension with the State Government and the traditional owners of the land, the Yungngora people, over the desecration of sacred sites.

Members of the Noonkanbah community had asked the church to support them in their cause, resulting in the Uniting Church working closely with the Yungngora people during this time. A number of rallies were held in WA in support of the traditional owners of the land. Continue Reading

President’s 40th anniversary message: established in love

The Uniting Church in Australia will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Thursday 22 June. Stuart McMillan, President of the Uniting Church in Australia, shares his 40th anniversary message.

People of the Uniting Church in Australia, you have been planted with roots deep into the good soil of the gospel: you’ve been established in love. May the love of Christ dwell in your hearts and may this love that surpasses knowledge enable you to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I’m Stuart McMillan the National President and this is my prayer for you, the people of God of the Uniting Church in Australia. On this our 40th Anniversary, God’s word of grace to us from the Basis of Union is: Christ constitutes, rules and renews his church.

The reconciliation and renewal of the whole creation – this is the mission of God and in Christ we are collaborators.

I’m here in Kurrajong on the lower slopes of the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s north-west. I want to pay my respects to the Kurrajong Clan Nation, their elders past and present and all descendants of these sovereign First peoples.Continue Reading

Unearthing gold and God in the west

A recent advertisement in a church newsletter for free accommodation in return for providing Sunday services sparked an adventure from Queensland to regional WA. Ruth Duncan reflects on her experiences moving westward and how she struck gold in the faith community.

A small advertisement in a newsletter from the Uniting Church Queensland late last year popped up the day after hearing my last lecture in New Testament within the Lay Preacher’s course at Trinity College Queensland. The ad offered free accommodation in Kalgoorlie in return for providing Sunday services. What a great opportunity to see a different part of Australia and practise  what I’d been learning over the course.

Among the jaw-dropping from my local congregation members, they managed to ask questions like, “Where will you stay?” and “What is the congregation like?”

To these questions and more, including those that were in my mind, I had to say, “I don’t know.” I just heard the voice of God saying, “Come and see.” Continue Reading

Hope for a promised land

Rev John Barendrecht, Manager of Pastoral and Placements for the Uniting Church WA, is retiring from his placement on Sunday 30 July, after taking long service leave from Friday 9 June. As the Uniting Church in Australia approaches its 40th anniversary, John reflects on his 39 years of ministry.

I began my training for ministry as a student from the Congregational Church, and finished with the Uniting Church. My first placement was at Dalwallinu in 1978.

After 39 years of active ministry I will retire in July 2017, meaning I have been in placements for nearly all of the forty years that the Uniting Church anniversary celebrates this year.

I began my journey of ministry with all the hope and enthusiasm that the church I was part of was indeed a hopeful sign of how to live the message of Jesus in a contemporary way. Those who have been in the Uniting Church as long as I have will remember early days where the mainstream and church-based press referred to the Uniting Church as the ‘Australian’ church.

My ministry has always been both as an outsider who is looking in, and at the same time, an insider looking out.

Called into ministry with a congregational setting, I felt like an outsider within my own faith tradition. I saw worship styles and ecclesiastical habits which made no sense to me, yet mattered more than life itself to my congregations. Tradition mattered more than mission, and to this day I still don’t understand why. Continue Reading

Amanda Hunt: Connecting passions and building potential

Amanda Hunt has always been passionate about community services. As a 16-year-old, she volunteered with a Catholic agency providing care for people living with an intellectual disability. From there began a lifelong passion for creating difference in people’s lives; a passion which has led her to become the new CEO of UnitingCare West, the Uniting Church WA’s community services provider.

Following a career in arts management, Amanda has 20 years of experience working in the community sector, having come to UnitingCare West from the role of State Director at Mission Australia  for WA and SA. She has also been CEO of Gowrie WA, an early childhood organisation, and the Recreation and Sport Network, now known as Inclusion WA.

Amanda’s passion became cemented further when family illness showed her the importance of community care. While working with Recreation Network, Amanda’s dad became unwell with Parkinson’s disease, a battle which lasted 12 years. After an accident resulting in a head injury, he became frail and the family rallied around to support him. Continue Reading